CONGO CRISIS (1960- 1964)
By: Kirusan & Cynthia
Had been a colony of Belgian since
1908 – 1960
Was previously known as “Congo Free
State” but was named “Belgian Congo”
In the first 30 yrs of Belgian control on
Congo, roughly 10 million people (half
the pop. at the time) died in forced
labor camps.
After years of oppression, slave labor
and the denial of basic rights, Congo
was finally granted independence in
Named the “Democratic Republic of
 June 1960, Belgium negotiated post-colonial mining rights in declaring an
independent Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), decided to form a
mutiny and commit acts of violence on remaining Belgian and European
 Prime Minister = Patrice Lumumba, President = Joseph Kasavubu
 Led to rebellion from Congolese army requesting for higher pay & removal of
white officers. When Belgium intervened militarily to protect Belgians in
Congo> bigger rebellion.
 Mineral-rich Katanga was declared independent by Moise Tshombe who lead
the people in Katanga.
 Lumumba appealed to UN – Security Council created army Mission of the
United Nations Organization in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
 Restore law and order and maintain it.
 Stop other nations from getting involved with the crisis.
 Assist in building the nation’s economy.
 Restore political stability.
 UN army was only allowed to use force as a means of self defense – no
taking sides. This angered Lumumba – accused UN of siding with
Tshombe’s gov’t and European powers.
 Lumumba went to the USSR for help. The Russians provided Lumumba’s
government with military equipment that gave him the opportunity to
launch an attack on Katanga
 US feared Soviet Involvement – backed up Kasavubu. Lumumba’s attack
on Katanga failed.
 Sept 1960 - Kasavubu dismissed Lumumba as PM. Col. Joseph-Désiré
Mobutu, the army's chief of staff, seizes power in a military coup. He
suspends parliament and the constitution. (power is later returned to
 Dec 1960 - Lumumba was later captured by Katanga rebels , reported
murdered in Jan 1961. UN couldn’t do anything as it agreed to only attack
on self defense.
 Evidence later emerges connecting Mobutu and the U.S. Central
Intelligence Agency (CIA) to Lumumba's murder.
 Aug 1961 – Kasavubu wanted UN troops to attack Tshombe‘s
 Sept 1961 - The plane carrying U.N. Secretary-General Dag
Hammarskjöld crashes while en route to peace talks about
the conflict in Congo, killing all aboard.
 1963 - Tshombe agrees to end Katanga's secession, UN forces
 After Crisis – 1945 Motubu holds another coup and takes over
DRC as a single party state.
What was the extent of national
The crisis that took place for four years in the Congo
totalled expenses of $400 million dollars. Not every nation
was pleased with what the UN had done and countries
such as Russia, France, and Belgium refused to pay their
part of the $400 million needed to pay the cost of the
operation. This hurt the UN significantly and almost
pushed them towards bankruptcy.
The Congo Crisis resulted in around 100,000-200,000
deaths. It also led to the assassination of Prime minister
Patrice Lumumba.
The Congo crisis also was looked at as a traumatic setback
to the UN due to the fact the UN secretary general Dag
Hammarskjold in a plane crash as he sought to mediate the
What was the technology or weaponry?
• The Congo Crisis was a war that took place on land, the
weapons that were used were machine guns, Belgian rifles
and various grenades
• In order to send in troops from other countries, soldiers would
be airlifted using planes
Who were the fighters? Regular army, militia, special forces or agents?
Civilian involvement? Was there a role played by outsiders? Was there
intervention by outside forces?
Yellow: National Government based in
Red: Rival National Government based in
Green: Katanga (Independent)
Blue: Mining State of South Kasai
Who were the fighters? Regular army, militia, special forces or agents?
Civilian involvement? Was there a role played by outsiders? Was there
intervention by outside forces?
Congo had been given independence from
Belgium June 1960. In early July the army of
congo known as Force Publique at the time
decided to form a mutiny and commit acts of
violence on remaining Belgian and European
The Force publique also changed there name to
the Armée nationale congolaise
In response to this the Belgian Government
sent paratroopers who were charged with
protecting the Belgian residents of Congo
In an attempt to attract outside assistance
Prime minister Lumumba appealed to the UN,
and the UN sent troops but were unable to take
sides but only fire on belligerents only if they
themselves were fired upon
Who were the fighters? Regular army, militia, special forces or
agents? Civilian involvement? Was there a role played by outsiders?
Was there intervention by outside forces?
• This is not what Lumumba hoped for he wanted assistance from the
UN in defeating Tshombe in the south because he believed that
Congo would never be truly stabilized until the region was under
control of a central government
• When the UN secretary refused Lumumba appealed to the USSR for
help, and the soviets agreed to provide military assistance and
launched an attack on Katanga but that was unsuccesful
• Lumumba's decision to accept Soviet help angered the
administration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower in the United
States who via the CIA, increasingly supported Mobutu and KasaVubu.
How did they measure victory in the
course of the conflict
• Ultimately it was apparent that Mobutu was victorious due to the
fact that The Congo established as an independent, unitary state
under Mobutu.
• During the course of the Congo Crisis, it was evident that if a person
was able to successfully hold power and land they would be looked
at as victorious
For example Albert Kalonji can be looked at as victorious for a
short amount of time considering how he was able to hold land and
power in Sout Kasai for a period of time.
 This resulted in a defeat of the Tshombe’s government in
 Outsider’s Influence.
• Left Congo in a
chaotic state
• Presence of
army violated
• CIA and US
• Supported
• Sent
played a role
Lumumba and
in death of
even sent
forces to aid
weapons to
• Supported
aid in attack
What types of issues were decided by the fighting?
What types of issues were negotiated? What types of
issues were left unsettled
• The main issue that was solved due to the crisis was finding a single
leader for all of Congo rather than having four different regimes present
in the area.
• Mobutu seized power On 25 November 1965, seized power from
President Kasa-Vubu with the help of the CIA.
• He established a one-party state, banning all other political
organizations except his own. This solved the problem of there being
multiple regimes present in Congo.
Was/ is the settlement stable or
• Although Mobutu succeeded in taking power, his position was soon
threatened by the Kisangani Mutinies
• These mutinies were proved to be unsuccessful
• After changing the country's name to Zaire in 1971, Mobutu also
pursued a policy expunging remnants of colonialism. In addition to
changing the names of the country and many of its cities, major
industries were nationalized.
• As the Cold War came to an end in the early 1990s, so did Western
support for Mobutu. Belgium, France, and the United States all
suspended military and financial assistance to Mobutu's regime
• As the economic and political situation worsened, Laurent-Désiré
Kabila began a military drive from eastern Zaire in 1996
to depose
Mobutu and successfully overthrew Mobutu May 17 1997 until his
• This shows that the settlement was unstable due to the fall of Mobutu’s
Analysis of cartoon
 In this political cartoon two figures are present a bear and an eagle.
The bear representing the USSR and the eagle representing the US.
By looking at the expressions of the two animals and the way they
look at each other it is apparent that the two do not like each other.
The pieces of paper say deepening suspicions and irresponsible
statements. This can be related to the Congo crisis due to the fact
that the US intervention into the conflict was a factor of the USSR
supporting Lujumba. The two countries possess very little trust in
each other and Eisenhower assumed the USSR was supporting
Lujumba in order to gain another communist ally.
 CIA station chief in leopoldville said “Congo is experiencing a
classic communist effort [to] takeover government... there
may be little time to take action to avoid another Cuba“
 Here it is evident that the speaker does not want a repeat of
what happened during the cuban revolution and how a
country that was previously not communist becoming
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Hurst, Ryan. "Congo Civil War (1960-1964) | The Black Past: Remembered and Reclaimed." Congo Civil War (1960-1964) | The
Black Past: Remembered and Reclaimed. Web. 20 Feb. 2013. <>.
Onwumere, Chidi. .”Congo Crisis” Web. 19 Feb. 2013. <>
Trueman, Chris. "The United Nations and the Congo." The United Nations and the Congo.” Web. 19 Feb. 2013. <http://>
"Twentieth Century Atlas - Death Tolls." Twentieth Century Atlas - Death Tolls. Web. 19 Feb. 2013. <

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